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Showing posts from January, 2016

Empire Magazine (2008) Greatest Movies List - #134: Seven

On paper David Fincher’s Seven (1995) sounds like just about every other serial killer movie that came before. You have the senior detective inching his way towards retirement, the hotheaded rookie, and the killer murdering people in the dark streets of the city according to his own twisted logic. Then the movie gets to THAT ending and the answer to the question: “WHAT’S IN THE BOX!?” Fincher and writer Andrew Kevin Walker could have just made a standard serial killer movie with great performances and dark street corners, but by making that uncompromising conclusion they delivered one of the best films of the 1990s.
It is a good thing the movie was made before the rise of social media, because the ending might have been spoiled for many viewers. When I rented the movie in the early 2000s I just knew it was a movie about a maniac who kills people according to the seven deadly sins, I knew nothing about the content of a certain box. Therefore it was a genuine surprise for me to see learn…

Empire Magazine (2008) Greatest Movies List - #135: Duck Soup

The comedy Duck Soup (1933) came out over eight decades ago, and yet its influence can still be seen in pop culture today. Starring all four of the iconic Marx Brothers, this is the comedy that made the ultimate “mirror scene” in which Harpo comes face to face with Groucho and tries to imitate his every moves in order to convince Harpo he is actually seeing his reflection and not an intruder in his bedroom. Over the years the scene has been recreated in Bug Bunny cartoons, Mickey Mouse cartoons, and an episode of Family Guy. A slightly less family friendly example of the film’s influence is how Rob Zombie used some of the characters’ names for his horror movie House of 1000 Corpses (2003) and its sequel The Devil’s Rejects (2005). Clearly you can’t accuse Mr. Zombie of not having a sense of humour.
I have not seen House of 1000 Corpses because I don’t see the entertainment value in a bunch of teenagers getting massacred by rednecks, but I did enjoy the creativity and thrills of The Dev…

Empire Magazine (2008) Greatest Movies List - #136: Amadeus

I will never go to the opera, but I consume movies like food so watching Milos Forman’s Amadeus (1984) is probably the closest I will ever get to spending a night at the opera. There have been plenty of biographies about singers and artists, but most of them are about rock musicians who ascend to greatness before crashing and burning because of their drug addiction. The life of composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart doesn’t feature any cocaine-fuelled downfalls, but it still has plenty of drama courtesy of a scheming competing artist straight out of a Shakespeare play.
The movie was a massive critical hit when it was released in the 1980s and made a star out of F. Murray Abraham as the man planning Mozart’s downfall. It also had the unfortunate side effect of having him be pigeon holed as a villain for many movies to come, something that was referenced in the action movie parody Last Action Hero. In that meta movie within a movie the young protagonist tries to warn Arnold Schwarzenegger’s ac…